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Dell Inspiron m5040 power problems.


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#1 Nanako

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 07:50 AM

Hi all, i'm trying to repair (read: frankenstein together) an old dell inspiron M5040 for a friend.

 

When i got the machine, it already had a nonfunctional screen (they hook it up to their TV for a display, though it hadn't been used in months).

 

The main issue first of all is that it wouldn't charge. I traced this problem to the rear power jack being loose which it wasn't supposed to be. Bought a replacement jack cable, installed that, and i believe that part is working fine now. However i'm not able to get the laptop working yet..

 

I've observed the following behaviours:

 

When the battery is in, and the mains charger is also in, An LED on the front flashes continuously, four orange blinks then one white, repeat ad infinitum. The battery does not seem to charge after being left for a few hours, the machine cannot be turned on.

 

When the battery is removed, and the mains charger is plugged in, pressing the power switch does something. It causes the front power LED to light up a constant white. However, there is no other activity from the machine at all. Hard drive does not spinup, fan does not start, etc. the light goes off again after about 20 seconds.

 

 

This is where i've gotten to so far. I've attempted removing and replugging/seating most of the internal cables, devices and memory dimms, no effect on the issue. i've inspected cables and contacts, found no signs of damage or wear.

 

Please advise on possible causes for this issue


Edited by Nanako, 17 July 2014 - 07:52 AM.


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#2 zingo156

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 08:14 AM

Are you 100% certain that it was the laptop jack that was causing the charging issue and not the power adapter itself? I would try with a known good or new power adapter as a first step.

 

Dell power adapters have a center pin that carries a signal to tell the laptop what power adapter is connected. In the bios of dell laptops under battery or information, a correctly working power adapter and jack will be reported. For example, if you have a 65w power adapter, it will be reported as a 65w power adapter and it will also report the battery as plugged in and charging and give you the current charge of the battery in %.

 

If the power adapter center pin is not working correctly, or the jack itself is bad, it will be reported in the bios as "unrecognized" and the laptop will run from the power adapter but will not charge.

 

The easiest way to rule out a bad power adapter is to try with a known good adapter or new adapter and check if it fixes the issue. If a new power adapter does not fix the issue, then it is likely the jack in the laptop or the battery. 

 

Since you have already replaced the jack, if a new power adapter does not work, you will need to re-open the laptop and check with a multimeter that current is getting to the board (I suspect it is since your LED lights come on with just the power adapter). If it is, the issue you are having may be hardware related.

 

The next step would be to disconnect all non essential devices from the laptop, touchpad, keyboard, webcams, wifi cards, hard drive etc and leave only the cpu, cpu cooler, power adapter, mainboard, 1 stick of ram in 1 slot, and the monitor (leave the speakers plugged in as well). Power it on and see if anything changes. If it still does not work, move the single stick of ram to the other slot and re-test. If you have more than one stick of ram, try another stick in each slot by itself.

 

Any bad hardware can cause no post problems. If you still can not get the laptop to post succesfully, remove all ram from the computer and listen for a post beep error code or check the blinking lights on the front and post those codes here.

 

I have seen problems with the m/n 50xx series from dell. The video chip sets seemed to fail quite often, this may or may not be the problem here. Run through the tests and report your findings here.


Edited by zingo156, 17 July 2014 - 08:54 AM.

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#3 zingo156

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 08:59 AM

One more thing you can try is resetting the cmos, disconnect all power sources and pull the cmos button cell battery out for 10 seconds then put it back in.


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#4 Nanako

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 09:38 AM

Hii, thank you for the response.

Are you 100% certain that it was the laptop jack that was causing the charging issue and not the power adapter itself? I would try with a known good or new power adapter as a first step.

 

I'm not entirely certain, but i am to within a reasonable degree. I did test the old/broken jack with a known good charger from another friend, and it did not work. The machine would not respond at all to the power cable being inserted.

 

In the current situation, there is at least some response, as detailed in the OP. I think this constitutes progress and confirms the jack was broken.


 

 


Dell power adapters have a center pin that carries a signal to tell the laptop what power adapter is connected. In the bios of dell laptops under battery or information, a correctly working power adapter and jack will be reported. For example, if you have a 65w power adapter, it will be reported as a 65w power adapter and it will also report the battery as plugged in and charging and give you the current charge of the battery in %.

 

 

 

Good information to know, i'mll be sur to check that when/if i can get into the bios. But right now the machine is dead as a paperweight so this isn't useful.


If the power adapter center pin is not working correctly, or the jack itself is bad, it will be reported in the bios as "unrecognized" and the laptop will run from the power adapter but will not charge.

 

The easiest way to rule out a bad power adapter is to try with a known good adapter or new adapter and check if it fixes the issue. If a new power adapter does not fix the issue, then it is likely the jack in the laptop or the battery. 

 

 

 

This would be fine, to be honest. The objective here is only to restore some semblance of basic functionality, no matter how inconvenient. If i could get it running permanantly off mains power without the battery, that would do the job.

 

I'll be getting the aforementioned known-good adapter back to test with again in a day or two (i've not tested it with that since i got the new jack.)

 


Since you have already replaced the jack, if a new power adapter does not work, you will need to re-open the laptop and check with a multimeter that current is getting to the board (I suspect it is since your LED lights come on with just the power adapter). If it is, the issue you are having may be hardware related.

 

 

 

re-open ? ha! the case hasn't been closed in weeks :P it's been sitting around partially assembled.

 

I'll try to get ahold of a multimeter for this, although as you mention it seems redundant since the LED indicates some power is getting through.

 


The next step would be to disconnect all non essential devices from the laptop, touchpad, keyboard, webcams, wifi cards, hard drive etc and leave only the cpu, cpu cooler, power adapter, mainboard, 1 stick of ram in 1 slot, and the monitor (leave the speakers plugged in as well). Power it on and see if anything changes. If it still does not work, move the single stick of ram to the other slot and re-test. If you have more than one stick of ram, try another stick in each slot by itself.

 

 

I did already do this, but there's the possibility i missed something, so i'll try it again.

 

will report back by this time tomorrow at the latest.



#5 Nanako

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 09:55 AM

hi x still doing tests will try to report back tomorrow



#6 zingo156

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 10:18 AM

I have a family reunion this weekend but I will get on my mobile.


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